Fifth Sunday of Easter
John 14: 1-12 May 22, 2011
That the Church gives us this Last Supper discourse of Jesus for an Easter Season Eucharist is illuminative. These words are spoken to us now by the Risen Lord, truly alive and present in our midst. In this gospel we find things that Jesus taught before his death beautifully combined with John’s inspired interpretation of these teachings, written in full confidence of guidance by the Spirit of Jesus (Jn 16:13).
Jesus tells his disciples not to be troubled, but to have faith in him as they have in God. He must leave them to be with the Father, and to prepare a place for them so that they may again be with him. Jesus explains that he is the way to the Father. He lives in the Father as the Father lives in him, and the Father does work through him. Those who believe Jesus and go with him to live in the Father will have the Father also live in them, and the Father will do even greater works through them.
With the disciples and with the Christians of John’s church, we have plenty of reasons to be troubled as we gather to celebrate the Eucharist. The good things of life are so fragile and so short-lived: health, security, marriage and family, friendships, peace of mind. The life implication of this gospel is profound because it touches upon the fear of death, that pervasive fear which can take the life out of life.
To hear the words of Jesus “Do not let your hearts be troubled” is the liberating good news that we can live and work in a fragile and violent world and not be overcome. Jesus, too, experienced things which trouble the human heart: misunderstanding and rejection, betrayal and abandonment, torture and dying. Yet in the deepest center of his heart Jesus was still able to know peace and joy because of his trust that he lived in the Father as the Father lived in him and did his work through him.
The Easter grace that we can receive today is the liberating faith that the Risen Lord desires to give us. In that faith we too can trust that with Jesus we live in the Father as the Father lives in us and does even greater work through us. And even in the troubling circumstances of our lives we will know the peace and joy which is beyond understanding, and which nothing in the world can take from us.
Campion P. Gavaler, O.S.B.